New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday virtually addressed the 17th ASEAN-India Summit and stressed that a "cohesive and responsive" ASEAN is needed for security and growth for all in the region.

During his address, the Prime Minister also stressed that enhancing every type of connectivity between India and ASEAN has been a major goal for New Delhi, saying it has been a "core of its Act East Policy from the beginning".

"Strategic Partnership of India & ASEAN is based on our shared historical, geographical and cultural heritage. ASEAN has always been the core of our Act East Policy. There are many similarities between India's 'Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative' and ASEAN's 'Outlook on Indo Pacific'," PM Modi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Stressing that the strategic partnership between India and ASEAN is based on its "shared historical, geographical and cultural heritage", PM Modi said that his government wants to increase connectivity with it in all sectors.

He also spoke about the ongoing coronavirus crisis and said that the ASEAN leaders will not be able to take the "family photo" of the meet this year. He, however, said that despite the meeting being virtual, the main aim of it is to "bridge the gap among" its leaders.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is popularly known as 'ASEAN', is chaired by Vietnam this year amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that the members will discuss the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and important regional and international developments.

"ASEAN-India strategic partnership stands on a strong foundation of shared geographical, historical and civilisational ties. India’s Act East Policy, underlining ASEAN centrality, reflects the importance, India attaches to engagement with ASEAN," the MEA had said in a statement.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma